New Delhi: The Central Information Commission has directed the Income Tax department to make public documents related to tax exemption given to the ICC World Cup held last year in the country. Information Commissioner Rajiv Mathur directed the department to make public the documents placed before the Union Cabinet last year on the basis of which decision was taken to grant the exemption.
He, however, allowed the I-T department to severe the portion of documents which it considers are exempted under the provisions of the RTI Act. The order came on the plea of activist Subhash Agrawal, who had demanded documents related to decision taken by the Union Cabinet to exempt income tax worth Rs 45 crore on the income generated during the ICC World Cup.
The application seeking exemption from income tax was not disclosed by the I-T department citing fiduciary clause of the RTI Act. Arguing for the disclosure of information Agrawal had said it is a matter of great national and public importance where there is a strong public feeling emerged for such a tax-waiver decided to be provided to a super-rich sports body, harming the exchequer that in a Cabinet meeting attended by ICC chief Sharad Pawar with conflict of interest.
The decision to grant the exemption was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet last year, which was also attended by Agriculture Minister Pawar, the then ICC president. The exemption, however, did not cover the revenues of the global cricket body from sponsorships and telecast rights, which account for 72 per cent its total income.
The exemption was granted to the cricket World Cup as it qualified criteria under the amendment of the Income Tax Act, 1961, in 2005 which required the event to be recognised by the global body governing the sport, besides participation of more two nations.